Beim, Solomon ben Abraham

views updated


BEIM, SOLOMON BEN ABRAHAM (1817?–1867), Karaite scholar and important public figure, a disciple of the Karaite scholar Mordecai *Sultansky. He also acquired a secular education and knew Russia, French, and German. In 1839 he accompanied Abraham *Firkovich in his voyages around the Crimea and Caucasus to help him search for antiquities. In the mid-1840s he conducted archaeological excavations in the Crimea and became a member of the Imperial Geographical Society. Beim first officiated as ḥazzan in Chufut-Kale, where he founded a Karaite school with tendencies of enlightenment. In addition to Bible and Hebrew, he also taught Russian and secular subjects. Beim was on friendly terms and corresponded with intellectuals of the Jewish Haskalah and Reform Movement. He attempted to ease the severe Karaite laws, but he met with strong opposition. In 1855, after the death of Simḥah *Babovich he was appointed as ḥazzan of the Crimea and Odessa. After the death of his father, the ḥazzan of the Odessa Karaite community, he moved to Odessa and continued his father's good relations with the Rabbanites. He died in the course of his visit to St.-Petersburg, where he came to deliver to Czar Alexander ii samples of typical Karaite garments, on the Czar's request. He wrote Pamiat' o Chufut-Qaleh and several other treatises in Russian on the Karaites which, however, have limited value, being based solely on the findings of Firkovich.


O.B. Beliy, in: maiet 10 (2003), 639–66; R. Fahn, Sefer ha-Keraim (1929), 100–2; A. Gottlober, in: Ha-Maggid, 8, nos. 20–21 (1864); S. Pigit, Iggeret Nidḥei Shemuel (1894), 2f.

[Golda Akhiezer (2nd ed.)]